Khudobin guides Bruins past ‘Canes in shootout
BOSTON -- Anton Khudobin kept the Boston Bruins in the game as long as he possibly could Thursday night, and his teammates rewarded him with a victory.
Torey Krug scored the tying goal with 31.5 seconds left in regulation, and David Pastrnak converted the winning shootout strike as Boston rallied to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1.
“Tonight, (Khudobin) showed that he was ready to play,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said about his backup goaltender. “He made some big saves for us. Solid in the shootout. You couldn’t ask more from him.”
Khudobin finished with 29 saves after carrying the team on his back and giving it a chance in a one-goal game.
Julien credited Khudobin’s success with his recent stint with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League, where he played while rehabbing from an upper-body injury.
Khudobin missed 12 NHL games with the injury and played three games in Providence before being recalled Nov. 25 and starting in a 2-1 loss at the Calgary Flames.
”The game practice is always better than just practice practice,“ Khudobin said. ”I went there, maybe it’s a different level obviously, but it’s harder to play there definitely.
“It helps to get in a game rhythm, which is good especially for a goalie, especially for me. The more I‘m playing, the better I feel.”
Khudobin became the first Bruins goalie not named Tuukka Rask to win a game this season. He entered the night at 0-3-0 this season, while Rask is 12-4-1.
“There’s no doubt that there was a lot of confidence that grew in that dressing room by watching his play and knowing that we have two goaltenders that can play extremely well for us,” Julien said.
Torey Krug scored his second goal in regulation for Boston (13-10-1), which had lost five of seven coming in.
In the shootout, Pastrnak beat the Hurricanes’ Cam Ward with a nice deke move and tucked the puck in on the goalie’s glove side to give Boston a 2-1 lead. Jeff Skinner was stopped by Khudobin on the other end to seal the win.
“Just try to deny their potions, what they’re going to do, what kind of moves they’re going to make,” Khudobin said of his mindset during the shootout.
The Bruins entered the night second in the NHL with an average 33 shots per game, and they outshot the Hurricanes 35-30.
Noah Hanifin, a native of nearby Norwood, Mass., had the lone goal for Carolina -- his second of the season -- and is showing a knack for scoring at TD Garden.
Hanifan also scored the decisive shootout goal in the Hurricanes’ 2-1 victory in Boston last April 5.
The former Boston College standout has three points in three career games at his hometown rink. Hanifin played his 100th NHL game last Sunday against the Florida Panthers.
“Well there’s about 30 buildings in the league I like him in, this is one of them,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters joked.
Ward recorded 34 saves for Carolina (9-9-5), which lost for the fourth time in five games.
“Cam continues to play great, making all the saves that he can see,” Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey said. “They also upped their game in the third period.”
Carolina earned a point for the seventh time in its past 11 games in Boston, going 5-4-2 in that span.
The Hurricanes played much of the first period on tilted ice as the Bruins struggled to keep the puck out of their defensive zone, but Khudobin kept the game scoreless with 12 saves.
Hanifin broke the tie with his blue-line slapper that sailed untouched under Khudobin’s glove on a power play with 12:13 left in the second. Skinner and Derek Ryan were credited with assists.
Krug beat Ward on his slap shot from the point to force overtime.
Viktor Stalberg committed what could have been a costly hooking penalty on former Carolina forward Riley Nash to give the Bruins a power-play chance with 3:07 to go in the extra period, but the Hurricanes killed it off.
Carolina hosts Boston for the second of three meetings this season on Dec. 23 at PNC Arena.
NOTES: Carolina LW Brock McGinn returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury. McGinn took the place of C Jordan Staal (concussion), who is out indefinitely. “He’s not going to get to 100 percent probably from now to the end of the year, but he should be closer (with rest),” coach Bill Peters said. ... Boston D Zdeno Chara (lower-body injury) skated with the team Thursday morning but missed his fifth straight game. Chara practiced for the first time since sustaining the injury Nov. 22 against the St. Louis Blues. ... Bruins C Noel Acciari (lower-body injury) also returned to practice Thursday. The team announced Nov. 10 that Acciari would miss four weeks. “If he’s there, it’s because he’s inching closer,” coach Claude Julien said. Acciari celebrated his 25th birthday Thursday. ... Carolina visits the New York Rangers and Boston is at the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.